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Cover Date: June 1977
Cover Price: US $ 0.30
Issue Tagline: None.
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 32 pages
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India, 1792, Gideon Smith, a man with a crescent shaped birthmark on his face meets with an Indian mystic, who tells the man that every time he dies he will be reincarnated in a new body, the only way to end his eternal existence as the "Forever Man" is at the hands of Dracula, someone the mystic tells the man to avoid at all costs. The man would dismiss this notion as superstition and go on about his life. Three days later while on a sailing ship three days out to sea, Smith would participate in a poker game that would go bad. Accused of cheating he would be shot point-blank. Smith would find himself reborn to a woman in Ireland and be named Patrick J. O'Reilly. So it would go on over the years he would die ending one life only to be reborn moments later in a new one. In 1820, Patrick would meet his end giving way to Franklin X. Pomeraze, who would be killed in 1860. He would next be Roger Perry-Van Dumann, who would die and be reborn as Clark Jackson, who would get cut down in World War II on May 8, 1945. He's next incarnation would be once more Gideon Smith, and would grow up to be a prominent insurance salesman living in Boston in the modern age. One night after greeting his wife who has come home from work, Gideon would look out the window and see Dracula and his wife Domini passing by and vaguely recall the centuries old warning from the Indian mystic. His attention would be taken off the sight when dealing with his wife's suggested plans to visit her sister. Continuing from the story left off last issue... Domini has come to the home of Anton Lupeski to confront the Satanic cult leader about his plans to murder her husband, Dracula. However, Anton manages to talk Domini out of warning Dracula by advising her that any attempt to do so would lead to Lupeski to revealing manufactured evidence that would frame Domini and make her appear to be involved in the murder plot against Dracula. He then summons his followers to take her away and begin preparing the celebration feast they are holding for Dracula and Domini's son Janus.
Meanwhile, Dracula would be out on the prowl trying to find a fresh victim at the same time that Gideon Smith and his wife arrive at her sisters home for a visit. When Gideon's sister-in-law makes a joke about her tenement home being "Castle Dracula", the reference to the vampire unnerves him, and he can't explain why. A pair of police officers find Dracula feeding on his latest victim and try to stop him. While one of the police officers is killed, the other flees into a nearby tenement to seek shelter. Dracula cannot enter as he has not been invited in, and demands that the police officer open the door. Realizing that he's dealing with a vampire, the police officer invites Dracula inside. At that same moment, Gideon is run down by a drunk driver, and Dracula is held at bay with a crucifix. Dracula attacks the man, anyway, and although he manages to kill the police officer, the officer manages to horribly burn Dracula's face with the cross. Dracula stumbles out of the home and passes out in the snow, he is found and taken to a hospital by a nun. As fate would have it, Dracula (his face all bandaged up) would end up sharing a room with Gideon Smith. When the doctors remove the bandages from Dracula's face and are shocked to find it healed, Gideon gets a good look at his roommate and is horrified to see that it's the very man that the Indian mystic warned him about so long ago. Having a better recollection of Dracula, he begins to shout warning the doctors that Dracula intends to kill him. Dracula revives and feeds on the two doctors in the room who are trying to restrain Gideon. When Dracula hears Gideon's ravings, Dracula boasts that he can kill whomever he wants, but when some nurses enter the room Dracula bats them side and decides to take leave from the hospital. On his way out, he happens upon Frank Drake, Rachel van Helsing and Quincy Harker. The trio had come to have Quincy get a check up on his heart condition. Upon spotting Dracula, the three vampire hunters attack the vampire king. Finding himself out matched, Dracula flees back into the room he came from. Blaming Smith for this confrontation, Dracula prepares to kill him, however the nun that rescued Dracula enters the room and her crucifix drives Dracula away. Dracula turns into a bat and flies out the window into the night sky, deciding to return to his wife and child. In the aftermath, some doctors contemplate the fact that they now know that vampires truly exist. When they check on Mr. Smith, they find that the encounter has frightened Smith so badly that it has turned his hair white and put him in a catatonic state. They contemplate over how it appears that Smith looked his own death right in the face and that he now waits his death to finally come.
by Nick Peron
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